Circle of Stones

I found myself in New York attending a concert at MSG. Though I was seated in the balcony, far above the stage, I was able to see, from this perspective, how people gather and circulate when the attention is not on them.


On the floor, amidst general admission, people, mostly women, started to form some pattern. Slowly, each one curled around the other, as if a silent cue had been given. But there was no instruction for this order they were facilitating. There was no reason to separate from the main crowd to build, what so obviously became, a circle.


In wonder, I watched these women move closer and further apart, so that the shape itself shifted in and out of an oval, diamond, and then back to a woven circle. And though it is common to dance within this pattern, there was no one taking to the stage in center like usual.


I thought that strange, for some reason, that the goal was not to take turns at performing or harnessing attention, but that it was truly to share in the moment. I watched as each person surrendered some identity, some desire to be desired, and danced in unison, as one being. These women were the circle itself.


Now maybe this is me looking and feeling too deeply, but as I've begun this book, Circle of Stones, I can't help but render this innate, perhaps, subconscious movement, profound.


As Judith Duerk, the author of the book, writes, "For modern woman, the circle of stones {i]s a place of centered stillness...listening... to the sacred Self within... an intimate testament for a woman to hold in her hand as she finds her own way how, into, and through" (xiii).


She asks questions that begin, "what if..." and explores an ancient Feminine ritual. She asks, "how would your life be different..." and then lists common female experiences like getting your first period or meeting anger or sadness for the first time; and how there is no space for women in the ways there always was to befriend them.


In this, she is referring to traditions like the Red Tent or the Lodge where women, and only women, of all ages gathered to heal, learn, love, and grow. It was a bridging process between those young girls who have yet to understand the power that comes from creating, and those of older ages that have forgotten the joys of youth and being desired, but are so wise and spiritual.


With an historical lens, she informs us of how these transitions to, from, and within the Feminine Archetype, were always supported; and how patriarchy works tirelessly to ensure that we do not have this—that we adopt shame and guilt about our bodies, ways of thinking, and intuition; that we are silent.


So as women gather in front of me, I wonder if they know the significance of a circle like this? I wonder if it's buried somewhere deep within our bones, our DNA, that we are always longing for this lost home? Could it be, that in the guise of a concert, a socially acceptable place to move together, that women are actually returning to this home?


Us women, we know how to fit in, but too often we confuse this with belonging. In this circle, whether stones, metaphorical, or in dancing, women can and do, so lovingly, finally, belong.

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